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Late Afternoon in the Woodland Garden 

It is mid August, and I like to stroll through my woodland garden in late afternoon as the heat of the day subsides. Already I can feel hints of autumn in a cool breeze. Dusk has not yet begun to steal the light away, and the scene is breathtaking. I did not create my woodland garden with the transforming magic of late afternoon light in mind, but one could think so, if I were that talented a gardener. I am simply blessed.

Golden sun rays radiate through the entry to the woodland garden, illuminating the moss path and gilding the plantings:

I walk through the woodland garden slowly, dreamily admiring the light in the trees:

I gaze at the glittering leaves of 'Waterfall' Japanese maple:

Here is the view across the main planting bed in the woodland garden:

Near the Japanese maple is 'Lady in Red' hydrangea, named for its striking red stems:

There are not many flowers in the woodland garden in August. An exception is this hosta 'Royal Standard' bloom:

A few more lovely woodland plants catch my attention:Clockwise from top left: Abelia blooms; Variegated Japanese Pittosporum with Wood Aster in background; Japanese Painted Fern; Hepatica nobilis.I see a spider web, and I am reminded it will soon be "spider season", when female spiders build webs in a frenzy, preparing to catch food to sustain themselves while they mate and lay eggs. (The male spiders are so focused on the female spiders that they don't feed and die soon after their own role in reproduction is done.)

The late afternoon light glows through the fronds of a Birds Nest Fern. This is a tropical fern in a pot that I bring in for winter, but it flourishes outside through the summer in the woodland garden:

I find a small downy hawk feather caught in a branch.Then nearby I see a larger hawk feather on the ground. What story does this tell? Normal shedding, or something tragic?A nice breeze blows through the wind chimes.I close my eyes and listen to the music. 

The magic light that turns the woodland garden into a dreamland does not last long, and dusk creeps in. The mosquitos are biting. Time to go inside! 

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Reader Comments (23)

What a wonderful green scenery in the garden ! This garden looks very romantic.
You show the beauty of the garden !
Have a nice Sunday :)

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEla

Gorgeous! And for what it's worth I definitely think YOU are the talented gardener. Love the visits to your gardens. xo

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

Deb: You're multi-talented--a great writer, photographer, and gardener! This a great example of mindfulness, thanksgiving, and living in the moment. Thank you for sharing this beauty!

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

Deb I can't believe you did not design this garden to take advantage of light...too magical!!

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Lovely garden views Deb! I enjoyed your pictures especially the hosta Royal Standard flowers! :)

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichael

You really are a master at catching the subtleties that make your garden magical, Deb. I think spider season has already started here as I'm walking into new webs every morning. It's certainly mosquito season - I know, as I'm a magnet for them. I hope all your evening strolls are bite-free.

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

While it lasted it looked magical Debs. Gorgeous!

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

OK, I know this is probably a Gardening 101 question, but do you have any advice or thoughts on Abelia? Do you grow Abelia x grandiflora or one of the cultivars? If it's in your woodland garden, I guess it can tolerate a fair amount of shade? I've read online that it does well in both sun and partial shade (with fewer flowers in less shade). And does it attract any bees or other desirable critters for you? I saw some Glossy Abelia at Cheekwood Botanical Garden last week and it did seem to be attractive to the bees.

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

What a fabulous trip through your woodland garden. Thanks for the tour.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Your woodland garden always looks so cool and welcoming. A lot of our Horse Chestnut leaves are down already and make the woodland look very autumnal already!

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

The light through your Japanese Maple is so exquisite! One of my favorite trees.

My boys live in Boston and just yesterday they noticed tinges of color on some of the neighborhood trees. They're having a very abbreviated summer...it was unseasonably cool into early June and for the past week it's barely reached 70 at the height of the day...Fall may come earlier than normal up there....not so here...what I'd give for a late day shade stroll in your lovely setting! :)

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkaren mulhern

Hello, everyone! Thank you all for your kind and gracious comments. I appreciate each one of you very much. Aaron, you asked about Abelia. The cultivar I grow is Abelia grandiflora 'Confetti', a variegated form that grows up to 5 feet, though I have kept mine pruned to less than four. It long ago lost its variegation, except for an occasional branch, and I can't say I am completely pleased with it, though I do like the flowers and they do attract bees and other pollinators. It does well in partial to full sun, and I grow it on the sunny edge of the woodland garden, where it gets sun for about 4 to 5 hours a day. It is becoming crowded by other shrubs in that area, and I am probably going to move it. Deb

August 18, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Hi Deb! Foliage wasn't always in the center of my attention. I'm glad I appreciate it now. And, foliage in your garden is healthy and beautiful!

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

I love the spider web you showed, the ones that proliferate this time of year. They are so magical in the light or when they catch drops of water.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie@Seattle Trekker

Your woodland is magical but not by chance or luck but because you have thought carefully about all your plant purchases and placements and if that doesn't prove you are a great garden designer I don't know what would!

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Oh, your woodland area sounds like a magical place to wander through. Your japanese maple is stunning!

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaula@BloomsnSpades

You sell your garden skills short...there is so much beauty that you have created, and captured in your images.


August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

I would like to walk thru your garden with you, but today's post is almost, as good as being there!

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

I find the garden in late afternoon/early evening quite relaxing, especially when there's a breeze and light hits everything just right. Your shade garden is just beautiful!

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Hi Deb, I sure would love to take a stroll through your woodland garden in the afternoon light after reading your post. Your photos capture the atmosphere that you are describing so beautifully. I especially love the Japanese maple 'Waterfall'. Enjoy the late summer, it will be over way to fast! Warm regards,

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

I love to see your woodland garden - it is truly beautiful. I am pleased to see you grow Hosta 'Royal Standard' too - it is one of my favourites. These are gorgeous photos as always.

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

It's such a shame that the mosquitoes have to chase you out of such a pretty place!

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

These photos do a wonderful job of capturing the mellow late afternoon light in your woodland garden. Beautiful!

August 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJean

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